Contact with the former Vice President, Gail Brownlow, was made on 8:41 AM 11/10/2005. Company closed in 1977 and was located in Eldorado, Oklahoma.
By Skip Brownlow
The Sooner Boat Manufacturing Company was established in the mid-1950’s. It was founded by my father, Harold Brownlow, in Eldorado, Oklahoma – an unlikely location for a boat building company. I was peripherally involved in the company from inception and began working full-time in 1969 until the end of production in 1977.
Harold was a cotton farmer and member of a local racing boat club that raced in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. All the members built their own racing boats. Harold progressed from building small racing boats to building a boat for the family to enjoy.
After building the family boat, a representative of Leonard’s Sporting Goods in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area asked Harold to build three boats for resale at the Leonard’s store. Thus was the beginning of Sooner Boat Manufacturing Company. Soon after this modest beginning, Leonard’s was asking for as many boats as could be built.
The original boats were built in a single-car garage off Main Street in Eldorado. Quickly outgrowing the garage, the plant was relocated to an abandoned gypsum plant north of town. A few years later, Harold built a modern, much larger manufacturing facility on the west side of Eldorado.
Through the years, the boats progressed from all wood molded plywood hulls to fiberglass hulls with wood decks to all fiberglass in the late 50’s/early 60’s. With a production of 200-300 boats per year, dealers were located throughout Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arkansas.
At the end of production in 1977, Sooner Boat Manufacturing Company was producing a 15-ft runabout, 16-ft tri-hull, 17-ft tri-hull (outboard and I/O using Merc Cruisers), a deck boat, and a bass boat.
Thanks to Kelly and this site, it was great to discover there was still interest in all the vintage boats – including Soonercraft. Finding there was still an interest inspired me to dig out all the historical information/pictures/brochures, etc., and I am now in the process of setting up an official Soonercraft website (www.soonercraft.com). If you have any questions or any pictures/info you would like to share, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below, some original pictures & info from the Son & Vice President of the Sooner Boat Co. Click the pictures to enlarge.